It has been a slow and tedious project. My motivation wanes and waxes with the seasons. There have been many fits and starts. Lately I have been gung ho. Hopefully that will continue. I'm trying to approach the project in stages. First I got rid of a very large cholla. That took a few months a couple of years ago. Then I made a run at a large agave. A massive root has stalled that. The most recent effort has been devoted to removing all of the rock. I have been doing it a shovelful at a time. If I can clear out a few square feet a day, I will be making progress. I have been sifting out the rock from the sand by hand, using a small screen. The rock is resting on top of a plastic barrier which also must be pulled up. It's futile to put down a barrier in these parts. Every Spring you will get a large amount of dust blowing in. In a short time you will essentially have a soil layer which weeds will just love. Now you have a bunch of weeds growing between the rock just as if there was no barrier at all.
Every night when I go to the upper yard I keep envisioning what it will look like when all of the rock and weeds will be gone. Once I get to that point, it will be time to tackle the ugly 4' wall made of railroad ties. I'm envisioning a tiered block wall that would also act as an inviting stairway. At the top of the stairway there will be a nice small patio area with a firepit. Of course the icing on the cake will be gorgeous views of the mountains to the east. Stay tuned!